The US special counsel Robert Hur has released a report that criticized President Joe Biden for his handling of classified documents but stated that no criminal charges should be recommended against him. The report cited Biden’s age and memory issues as factors in the decision not to recommend charges. In January 2023, Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed Hur to investigate Biden after documents were discovered in his garage and non-White House office space.
In contrast, former President Donald Trump was indicted in June 2023 for retaining classified documents after leaving office. Trump is said to have pushed back against the National Archives and Records Administration’s inquiries and never fully returned all of the requested material, leading to an FBI raid on his Mar-a-Lago home in Florida. According to the New York Times, a key distinction between the two cases is their willingness to comply with investigators. While Biden’s team proactively reached out to NARA and cooperated with the investigation, Trump did not fully comply with the National Archives’ requests.
Despite this, both parties have yet to finish their primary season, with Biden and Trump currently leading their respective party’s presidential primary race. Despite this, the report concluded that no criminal charges are warranted in Biden’s case and that the same conclusion would be reached even if Department of Justice policy did not foreclose criminal charges against a sitting president.